Taipei City, Taiwan: In With The Old

Despite being a city, Taipei didn’t overly looked like one since it’s surrounded by luscious mountains. And I think that’s the country’s charm. It offers a bit of both worlds just by driving an hour from the city center. But did you know that there’s two Taipei cities? The New Taipei City, which is the most populated city in the country, covers the north and surrounds (old) Taipei City. But the old Taipei is still the country’s capital, and is filled with history and culture.

Lin An Tai Historical House is the oldest house in Taipei, which was built about 200 years ago by a Chinese businessman. Although, it was relocated to its current location due to a road project. The mansion is open to the public and has free admission.

The main hall (lower left) is the shrine for the gods and ancestors. It’s also used for receiving guests, and holding ceremonies and festivals. The First Eastern Wing room (upper right) is for the children. The lower middle photo is a commode.

The house has beautiful open spaces in between the rooms decorated with beautiful jars. Antiques used in ceremonial weddings were also displayed.

On the right side of the house is the Ying Yueh pond, Yu Chain Lou Pavilion, Sueh Yueh Hall, Tea Lover’s House, and Yu Dai Bridge. This part of the mansion is very picturesque. There was actually a cosplay photoshoot during my visit. The partition walls are also adorned by shapes of vases, animals, and fruits. It felt like being transported back in time amidst the towering buildings behind.

I skipped going up to Taipei 101, so my tour guide made a quick stop for me to see it from afar. I slightly wished I did went just to experience the 37 seconds elevator ride to the 89th floor.

Of course, I wouldn’t miss the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall, the most prominent landmark in the country. It is a national monument in memory of the country’s former president.

We were able to see the last changing of the guards. It’s very different as it was done very slowly, like one step at a time. It was very interesting to watch.

My visit to Longshan Temple was during my layover going back to the US. It is a Buddhist temple with a mixture of Taoists and deities.

The temple’s filled with worshipers and tourists. People pray to different deities depending on their needs. The lady in the photo was praying to the deity of fertility.

People offer flowers once their prayers were answered.

The temple was built in the 1700s and has survived many wars and disasters. Thus, making it one of the largest and oldest temple in the country. It’s the most popular, too.

Just around the corner is a night market. So many local delicacies to try. Night markets are a big thing in Taiwan and is part of their culture. I tried the raw sugar cane juice (upper right). It was good, and not too sweet, surprisingly.

Out of all the local food, I tried the grilled squid. The serving was plenty for me. It was okay, a bit spicy for my taste.

We also passed by the herbal market, where I tried a cold herb tea. It was tasty and organic.

Did you know that scooters outnumbered the city’s population? But it does makes sense to own a scooter for a faster and cheaper commute.

Bo Pi Liao Historical District wasn’t part of the itinerary, but Tai decided to bring me here since it’s just a crosswalk away. It used to be the residential area of the Chinese immigrants. It’s a very cool place to walk around with all the red bricks and the historical atmosphere. It’s pretty much empty, aside from some buildings being rented for activities.

My two separate layovers in Taiwan gave me the chance to see the wonders the country has to offer. But what caught me is the proximity of nature from the center. There’s really more to see beyond the city limits. And if I ever come back, I’d do more of the national parks and hikes. Nonetheless, my Taiwan trip was a treat.

P.S. Thanks to the awesome tour guides, Bill and Tai, of My Taiwan Tour. I got to see so much with such little time.

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